Tennessee’s Republican-led legislature meets in special session this week to consider public safety proposals, including some stemming from a deadly shooting at a Nashville elementary school this year.
Though the session is not expected to result in any new firearms restrictions, it highlights the widely divergent response among states to mass shootings around the nation, the Associated Press reports.
More than half the states have enacted new laws this year regarding gun policies or school safety measures, most often tightening firearm restrictions in Democratic-led states and loosening them in Republican-led ones. Some states have spent money on efforts to secure schools or to train teachers and staff how to respond in shootings.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's proposal that judges be allowed to order the temporary removal of guns from people determined to be a risk of killing themselves or others seems unlikely.
Laws allowing “extreme risk protection orders” already are in place in 21 states and the District of Columbia. That includes Michigan and Minnesota, where new Democratic legislative majorities passed so-called “red flag” laws this year.
The number of states enacting firearms legislation has climbed steadily this year. The most recent action was in Delaware, where Democratic Gov. John Carney signed legislation Friday expanding restrictions on guns at election polling places and school property.
Less than a week earlier, fellow Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law making Illinois the eighth state to roll back legal protections for firearms manufacturers and distributors.
In addition to Illinois, Democratic-led legislatures in Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, Vermont and Washington all passed gun control provisions this year. The laws have strengthened background checks, banned certain semi-automatic weapons and restricted so-called “ghost guns,” which lack serial numbers.
Some states have strengthened gun rights. One of the most recent laws was signed by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy of Alaska.
The law bars state and local officials from restricting the sale or possession of guns and ammunition during disasters — a response to mandatory business closures during the pandemic. The law will mean gun stores can’t be closed in emergencies unless all commerce is shut down. The National Rifle Association described it as “the first mjor pro-Second Amendment legislation” passed in Alaska in a decade.